May 26, 2009

PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine by Peter May

By Andrew Barrow In Wine Books

PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa's Own Wine by Peter May

A press release from my good friend Peter May on his new book PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine.

Pinotage is South Africa’s very own wine, but there has never been a book about it until Peter F May from England decided to tell its story.
2009 is the 50th anniversary of the world’s first Pinotage wine and in PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine author Peter F May tells the story of this uniquely South African grape variety, its creator, Professor Abraham Perold and the people who grow and make Pinotage.

During researches in South Africa Peter F May was told information that differed from the standard definition of Pinotage in text books. Turning detective, May investigated various legends about Pinotage’s parentage and origins. “I felt like Sherlock Holmes,” he says, “as winemakers told me things in confidence that contradicted everything I’d read about Pinotage.”
May resolves the mystery and proposes the real reason why Prof Perold created Pinotage. Peter F May travelled to four continents to interview winemakers and winery owners for the book which provides a comprehensive review of Pinotage worldwide. May details the history of Pinotage and how the variety is grown, made and marketed in South Africa.


PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine tells of Peter F May’s infatuation with the Pinotage variety and follows his investigations into its origins. After exhaustive investigations into various legends about the variety he identifies when and how it was created and first planted and he discovers the oldest living Pinotage vineyard.
The book contains a history of winemaking in South Africa and a biography of Pinotage’s creator, Professor Abraham Izak Perold. May investigates various legends about the variety including ones that say it has Shiraz or an American rootstock vine in it parentage and the reasons for Pinotage’s creation.
In the second part of the book May discusses growing, making and marketing Pinotage wines with case studies of several classic South African vineyards and wineries. Various styles of Pinotage are discussed, the Cape Blend controversy is covered and criticisms of the variety are analysed.
In the third section of the book, author Peter F May takes a look at Pinotage in other countries. His travels take him from South Africa to California and Virginia, Canada, Israel and New Zealand.
This timely book is for anyone interested in wine and wine making, and those who want to know the full story about South Africa’s wine gift to the world.

PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine by Peter May is available from for £14.24. Signed and dedicated copies can be obtained from the author by sending a UK bank cheque for £15.99 to the address below or paid by credit card or Paypal via

  1. Dylan May 27, 2009

    It’s exciting to hear the amount of conversation gathered around South Africa. Outside of your blog I have also read numerous postings by Dr. Vino and Alder Yarrow of Vinography. Peter’s investigation comes in a time where there’s a heightened awareness directed toward Pinotage providing answers for the new questions which come with that awareness. It sounds like a worthwhile read.

  2. Kelly May 28, 2009

    Sounds no less intriguing than the DaVinchi Code…
    I think South African Wines haven’t had the last word yet, and this book seems like a really interesting read.
    Thanks for pointing it out.


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